Collioure conceals incomparable maritime and architectural treasures. This is why Matisse, Signac, Derain and Picasso decided to plant their easels there.

Collioure
Photo credit: @onevince, @itsxaviripoll, @kevin.thbd

Collioure has seduced the greatest artists

Impossible to visit Collioure without hearing about Matisse, Signac, Derain, Picasso… With its limpid sky, its bright colors, its historical heritage and its picturesque markets, the small Catalan port has seduced the greatest artists. In 1905, Henri Matisse wanted to give a turning point to his artistic career. Under the advice of his friend the painter Paul Signac, he went to Collioure in the spring of that same year. This small village, by its nature and its crazy charm, arouses his astonishment. Collioure, a city steeped in history, bordered by the sea and the mountains of stepped vineyards, became at that time his main source of inspiration.

Collioure

A new pictorial movement

Meetings with the Roussillon artists and intellectuals Etienne Terrus, Aristide Maillol, Daniel de Monfreid as well as the visit of the painter André Derain participate in the process of creating a new pictorial movement. This current, based on emotion and color pushed to its climax, broke completely with the conventions of the time. Henri Matisse and André Derain experimented during this summer of 1905, a new way of painting: painting is no longer used to reproduce a reality but to express an emotion. Under their brushes, the line is simplified, the color used is pure and expressive.

An artistic shock

In the autumn of that same year, Henri Matisse and André Derain exhibited their paintings made in Collioure, at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. These paintings caused a scandal and caused an artistic shock. The art critic Louis Vauxelles will speak of « Donatello in the middle of the beasts ». The term “Fauvisme” was thus born and designates this new movement which frees itself from the pictorial rules of the 19th century and opens the way to the artistic upheavals of the 20th century. Henri Matisse became the leader of this current which notably brought together the painters André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Braque, Charles Camoin, Albert Marquet, Kees Van Dongen. The canvases painted by Matisse and Derain are bought by art collectors and allow them to acquire a certain notoriety. These paintings, now exhibited in the greatest museums around the world, have contributed to the fame of Collioure.

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